• Director’s Message

  • SEVINK Vision Institute

  • The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for The US Senate

    PROGRESS WEBCAM

  • SUDI

  • Visitor log

    • 85,552 hits
  • Solidarity with Mali

    We proudly fly The Mali Flag in solidarity with the people of Mali

  • Advertisements

Colonized waters of West Africa

As the nations of La-Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Bissau, Gambia, and Senegal are mired in proxy internal conflicts, much of them fueled by their former colonial masters, their rivers and shorelines become a haven for illegal fishing trawlers from Europe (Portugal, Spain, France, UK, Greece), China, Japan, and South Korea.

5.25.2012 source: Al-Jazeera

Inland fresh water and ocean intruded salt water fish provide a valuable source of revenue for local artisanal fishermen and nutrient-rich fish for the populations of these nations. Generally in the multi-ethnic nations of West Africa, trades and industry follow along ethnic and tribal lines. The riverbanks, islands, and archipelagos are dotted with villages of these professional tribes whose sole occupation and livelihood revolves around harvesting fish and other seafood. As these waters become depleted of their fish and other aquaculture, more and more turn to farming on land risking poorer and poorer harvests inured by seasonal droughts and over-used and inadequately or poorly fertilized soils. Despair, induced by unemployment and hunger, leads to base notions of internecine conflicts. An ominous vortex that can threaten the very social fabric of even the more sober of these nations. The UN then busies itself with food aid, humanitarian aid, and all manner of listlessness. The political life of the weak democracies is joined in eternal vortex, softened up for justified but undue meddling and colonization by the more ambitious predator nations.

The predators brazenly violate the international waters and rivers of West Africa in much the same way as they do Somali waters. In Somalia, the last resort of the fishermen tribes is and remains piracy on the high seas because instead of assisting the locals with protective navies that can effectively ward off seafood thieves and bandits, the criminals charge piracy to allow them the requisite impunity to further destitute the fishing communities. More and more, the fishing communities of West Africa are having to rely on themselves to protect their livelihood on the waters inland and offshore. This, as the local economies of Portugal, England, Spain, Italy, and Greece contract into hallmark recessions.

Drug-running and pirate fishing provide feasible means to plunder former colonies in cycles of despair and decrepitude for relief in the colonial enterprises. Under the guise of foreign investment for development, some of these enterprises have negotiated fishing licenses in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Benin, and Senegal where a facsimile of structured government exists and in the failed-states of Gambia and Bissau, front companies and criminal enterprises set up shop while fleets of their boats ravage the rivers and shores. The looted fish is carted further offshore to waiting refrigerated vessels from Europe, Korea, Japan, China, and Latin America where they are offloaded for onward shipment overseas. Increasingly, the markets of Asia and Europe are awash with a confounding variety of West African fish from grouper, snapper, sardines, shrimp, salmon, squid, mullet, to lobster. Some of these companies do engage in properly and legally-negotiated fishing licenses, but the local authorities do not have the means or capacity to regulate the allotments of these licenses. The result is that state revenue from these legal fishing licenses become inadequate to compensate local artisanal fishing villages much less to improve the local industry. In addition to the loss in billions of dollars in fisheries revenue, when the governments are handicapped by internecine conflict and comprehensive decrepitude, any effort to monitor or administer fishing licenses falls by the wayside.

There is an ominous risk of profuse piracy and conflicts on the high seas in West Africa and we encourage more democratic nations and the FAO to help empower local fishing villages on the archipelagos and islands in the Peninsula of Guinea, Bissau, and Sierra Leone to avert the impending dangers. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Greater employment which can earn more livable wages for these and neighboring communities can be provided by more robust coast guards, navies, and riverkeeper mechanisms that will both ward off illegal pirate fishing vessels and protect the local artisanal fishing industry. Outboard motors wont cut it. This will have the attendant effect of reducing internecine tensions and cyclical rushes to humanitarian and food aid.

The GDP Team.

Further reading: http://af.reuters.com/article/guineaBissauNews/idAFL5E8E9AOZ20120315?pageNumber=3&virtualBrandChannel=0&sp=true
Advertisements

Gambia: Nov. 24th, 2011 Presidential Elections. What Happened?

We have once again been treated to a marvel of an election, this time with Yahya gaining an average of 70% in all constituencies, even the traditionally secure strongholds of Kiangs, Jarras, Wullis, Kombos, Nianis, and Sandu. This while in the duration between 2006 and 2011, arms and amunition coming from Iran and destined for Kanilai were intercepted in a Nigerian Port, a billion dollar’s worth of cocaine was found in Bonto riverside village resulting in a Dutch citizen’s murder, Assets of Pristine Consulting Biometric registration were confiscated and impounded upon, the Gamcotrap-2 have been illegally arrested and are still being gratuitously prosecuted, Yahya’s relationship with his friend Chavez of Venezuela is on the rocks for the former’s antics against his former friend Gadhafi to save his own hyde, Baba Jobe was murdered to dispense with potential witnesses to the Sierra-Leone-Liberia Blood Diamond saga, and Yahya and his wife’ss implication in the assassination attempt on the life of La-Guinea President Alpha Conde’.

As in 2006, 2001, and 1996, The Gambia’s voter rolls include citizens of Senegal particularly from the region of Cassamance where the rearguard of Yahya’s Kanilai enclave hails from. On occasion, these illegal voters were housed at The University of Gambia and some have been intercepted in the southern border region between Senegal and Gambia.

Yahya has total control of state resources to include the national television and radio which he uses to the stealthy exclusion of opposition messaging and campaign. On several occasions, the national radio and television station refused to broadcast meeting advertisements of the opposition political parties and the inspector of police refused to grant permit for the conduct of opposition rallies. On one such occasion when the opposition United Democratic Party held a meeting without a permit, an officer of the UDP, Hon. Femi Peters was arrested and remanded in prison for using a loudspeaker and leading a public procession. In the runup to the election, the opposition parties were allowed 11 days of public campaigning while Yahya has been campaigning for 5 years. Public officials, including Seyfolu and Alkalolu, used their state vehicles, fuel, and other logistical resources to openly campaign for Yahya and his APRC gang.

Prior to election day, bands of the Green boys and girls groups went on an intimidation campaign to inform would-be opposition voters that hidden cameras were installed in the voting booths to survey how voters voted and that those who vote for the opposition parties would be found out and dealt with after Yahya’s foregone win.

On election day itself, voting marbles were issued to both illegally registered voters and unregistered voters.

On election day, labels were removed from ballots and re-labelled according to weight and improper labels attached. All the while, opposition representatives were prevented from monitoring the ballot totes/drums until the deed is done.

Friends, Gambians, and countrymen/women, this was the manner of your election on November 24th, 2011.

The GDP Team.

Liberia: Presidential Election Runoff to be held with only Hon. Ellen Sirleaf Johnson on the ballot

It is ill-advised for the Runoff election to be conducted with only Hon. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on the ballot. We encourage Hon. Sirleaf to exercise some humility and sobriety and to suspend the second round of elections while she engages main challenger Hon. Tubman in dialogue. The challenger must be reassured of the integrity of the election.

Elections are held to choose among competing alternatives for governance. There is no reason to conduct the exercise of an election when there is no challenger. That is both foolhardy and a severe waste of valuable resources for Liberia. In addition, it is a recipe to open old wounds that are slowly healing in Liberia. Democracy is not easy. If it were, all leaders would subscribe to it. Elections for the sake of the exercise does not add value to a democratic dispensation.

We encourage the US, President Obama, all development partners of Liberia, and the UN to take note of the inuring decrepitude in Liberia and insist on veritable elections to avert Liberia returning to its conflict past. We encourage ECOWAS and the AU to bear on the wise counsel of their good offices and assist Liberia in this inauspicious moment. The winner of a single-candidate presidential election cannot be a legitimate president.

Hon. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf must understand that citizens have both the right to vote OR not to to vote. The vote is an instrument to express the constitutional right of free assembly and association for religion and industry. The constitutional right of a citizen to vote is underpinned by the rights of such citizen to a free and fair election to choose their government among competing alternatives.

Libéria
Présidentielle : sans rival, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf est seule au second tour
Le second tour de l’élection présidentielle au Liberia s’est ouvert mardi 8 novembre. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf est seule en lice après l’appel au boycott de son adversaire Winston Tubman. Au moins deux partisans du candidat du Congrès pour le changement démocratique sont morts lundi lors de manifestations.Peu d’incertitudes quant à l’issue du second tour mais de vives inquiétudes entourent cependant la tenue du scrutin. Au moins deux à quatre personnes ont été tuées lundi 7 novembre à Monrovia. Un policier libérien a été arrêté par les hommes de la Minul après avoir admis avoir ouvert le feu sur les manifestants durant les incidents, a confié un inspecteur de police libérien. La Minul a fait état d’un mort et plusieurs blessés, sans en préciser le nombre.Amnesty international a demandé l’ouverture d’une enquête et a appelé à la retenue les différentes parties. Le président américain Barack Obama a, quant à lui, mis en garde contre toute tentative de « perturber » le second tour de la présidentielle, soulignant que les électeurs avaient le droit de voter librement et sans peur. Jeuneafrique.com